What's happening in Austin Schools in 2012-2013? Superintendent Meria Carstarphen shares her insights about how "The Power of Us" is transforming education in Austin. This Power is the commitment of educators, parents, students, and the entire community to support quality teaching and learning and to achieve success for every student. It's shared accountability for our successes and challenges. Check back regularly for the latest news.
It was my pleasure on Tuesday evening to meet with AISD’s Student Advisory Council at a forum to discuss issues that are important to our children.
The council is composed of one representative from each middle school and high school in the district, plus a few ex-officio members and other invited students.
To start the process, the students broke into four groups. Each group worked together to identify the issues they wished to bring to the district’s attention, which they listed on a flip chart. Then they chose the three most pressing, and a representative from each group addressed the entire audience at the podium. The speaker discussed the issues selected by the group, and explained why each had been chosen. You can see a few of the steps in this process in the photographs that accompany this story.
After all the presenters had spoken, I worked with the students to organize the issues into larger categories. Here in a nutshell are some of the major concerns shared by many of our students:
Campus environment: overcrowding, bullying, social acceptance, internet access, transfers, attendance and school spirit
Budget cuts: staffing reductions, money used on new technology, equity and supply cuts
Academics: transition to STAAR: difficulty of the new test, college readiness, learning issues, attendance, required classes, GPA and electives, school preparedness
Not for the first time in my tenure as Superintendent, I was impressed by the thoughtfulness and intelligence of our students. Their concerns are extremely important to me, and, as anyone who saw last week's State of the District address can tell you, many are near and dear to my heart.
The group will meet next in February, when we will work together to increase awareness about bullying and collect best practices from campuses on preventing it. And I look forward to digging deeper into all these topics at the Net-Talk the district will hold March 1-3, 2012.